The Human Touch Series

Vicky Loras's Blog

A screenshot from our kickoff event at the iTDi Summer School MOOC with Jason Levine and Chuck Sandy (by Leo JC) A screenshot from our kickoff event at the iTDi Summer School MOOC with Jason Levine and Chuck Sandy (by Leo JC)

A year ago, I was asked by the amazing Chuck Sandy to write a blog post for iTDi under the title The Ideal Classroom. I thought about it and a few minutes later, I had a clear picture of an ideal classroom.I thought of all the environments I have worked in: some were picture-perfect, others much less so – no lighting, having lessons in our coats and gloves. But which is the best kind? The ideal one?

Some of them are hi-tech or bare floor. Some are in beautiful modern buildings, some do not even have windows or roofs. Others have tablets and computers for the students;  in other schools kids sit on the ground with little chalkboards, or even draw in the dirt.

Which is the best…

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“Business Storytelling: Helping BE Learners Create Memorable Stories”

The Business English Connection

Storytelling is one of the few traits shared across all human cultures. In the global business context, storytelling has become a powerful tool.  Business leaders use it to connect both at an intellectual and emotional level.

However, the strategy to create a business story differs from a regular narrative. As Business English trainers, we need to be aware of the organizational goals pursued through a story and the best way to build an effective discourse.

On Sunday 12th April at 10:25, I will be giving a workshop on storytelling “Business Storytelling: Helping BE Learners Create Memorable Stories” (exchange 6)

In this interactive workshop we’ll discuss the key elements to include when framing a story. We will create inspiring characters and learn how to build tension that engages our audience.  We will also analyse the linguistic and communicative features of memorable stories: sensory experience, discourse devices and type of language.

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Photo: Santiago Barreiro

Inclusive Education

Education should be inclusive at all levels and ensure the access of disabled children and teenagers to the same general education offered to all. Their right to equal educational opportunities is our obligation as educators.

At the IATEFL Annual Conference in Manchester, I’ll be talking about what it implies and how we, English teachers, can create meaningful learning experiences for all.

(conference programme – my talk: Monday 13 April at 17:25 – Manchester Central – Central 5)

Many of us, educators, believe in inclusive education. However, it is very important to know what it really means and what it implies.
Despite the fact that this believe has been around for many years, facts and figures show that there is still much to be done.

Once we know, we need to have or develop the necessary skills and strategies in order to be able to implement it successfully at different levels.

  • Society – a change in mindset
  • Educational institution – a change in paradigm – an inclusive education project
  • Classroom – skills and strategies to turn this project into a reality

In this talk I will:

  • explain the global situation regarding inclusion in education and what the UN CONVENTION on the RIGHTS of PERSONS with DISABILITIES states
  • discuss the concept of inclusive education, its truly meaning, what it is and what it is not
  • explain what it is needed to be able to implement it
  • give some practical ideas on how we can design our programmes and plan our classes
  • go over some stories of success

The main objectives of this talk are to clarify the concept and hopefully help director of studies, teachers and all educational stakeholder overcome their fears by showing different ways of implementing it and sharing stories of success.

TEDx Ed Talk in Montevideo, Uruguay

subtitles in English will be added to the recording

Photography exhibition to promote the social inclusion of people with the Down Syndrome.


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TEDxEd Montevideo TEDx Event about Education in Montevideo, Uruguay
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A TED speaker coach shares 11 tips for right before you go on stage

TED Blog

Gina Barnett advises a speaker during TED2014. Below, her best last-minute public speaking tips. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED Gina Barnett advises a speaker during TED2014. Below, her best last-minute public speaking tips. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

The weekend before a TED conference, each speaker rehearses their talk in the TED theater. It’s a chance for the speakers to get to know the space, for our curators to give last-minute suggestions on talk content, and for our speaker coaches to give advice to help each speaker feel their absolute best the day of their talk. During this time, we overheard speaker coaches Gina Barnett, Michael Weitz and Abigail Tenenbaum give a few extraordinarily helpful tips that we’d never heard before.

We asked Gina Barnett, longtime TED speaker coach and author of the upcoming book Play the Part: Master Body Signals to Connect and Communicate for Business Success (to be released in June), to share some specifics:

  1. Start drinking water 15 minutes before you start talking. If you tend to get…

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dreaming with your feet

“Ceibal en Inglés” at the IATEFL Annual Conference

Technology and its use in education and English teaching, was one of the main topics at the IATEFL Conference in Harrogate (April 2014).

One of the topics discussed was the Ceibal in Inglés project. You can read my previous post about it here.

Nik Peachey interviewed me about this project (min 4:00)


Paul Woods, English Adviser at British Council/Plan Ceibal, delivered a talk explaining how Ceibal in Ingles works.

He talked about how the project is organized and shared some results from the first phase of its implementation.


I talked about coordinating a team of teachers in this project.



Magdalena saludando

CEIBAL EN INGLÉS – a challenging and innovative English project in Uruguay

CEIBAL EN INGLÉS – a challenging and innovative English project in Uruguay

Ceibal en Inglés” is an initiative that is being implemented in Uruguay to teach English to state school kids. In this project lessons are delivered by an English teacher via videoconferencing together with the school teacher who is physically present in the classroom.

After the successful implementation of a pilot phase between June and November 2102, it expanded to 1,000 classes a week in 2013.

Now, Ceibal in Inglés is being implemented in almost 2,000 groups of different state schools throughout the country.

Rob Lewis, who manages the TeachingEnglish site, interviewed Graham Stanley, the British Council project Manger of Ceibal en Inglés in October. You can listen to it here.

Graham Stanley has been blogging about the Ceibal en Inglés project.  You can read his posts here

Jeremy Harmer visited Uruguay in August 2013 and attended a lesson of Ceibal en Inglés. He wrote a blog post about it encouraging the online readers to give their opinions and comment on it. Many interesting things were mentioned there, you can read the thread here.

Magdalena saludando

As English teachers we all hold beliefs regarding teaching and learning, the role of the teacher, the role of the learners and the role of the materials. We believe a successful teaching – learning experience requires certain ingredients. According to those beliefs we plan, we deliver, we evaluate.

What happens when we move away from the “traditional” teaching context? What changes? What remains the same? Are those beliefs still valid?

All stakeholders involved know there is still a lot to learn and to improve. However, we know, there are some crucial elements for the success of this project. Team – teaching is one; how technology is used is another one.

I have been coordinating a team of “remote” English teachers. Based on this experience, I will be delivering a talk at the IATEFL Conference in Harrogate. I will be sharing some ideas, some reflections and some questions regarding what ingredients are key for the success of this team teaching in a blended learning environment.

So, if you’re interested in the topic, you can join me on 3rd April at 12:15 in the King’s B Room of the Harrogate International Conference Centre.

Paul Woods, English Adviser from the British Council in Uruguay, will describe the main elements of the project, key issues and report on recent test results on 3rd April at 11:30 in the King’s B Room.

If you have any questions or issues you would like me to address, feel free to post your questions here.

Looking forward to seeing you in Harrogate!

Conference Programme

Conference Mobile Application